Both Zen practice and psychoanalysis function through primarily experiential and highly subjective processes. e practitioner’s experiences in both traditions require transformation into language. e patient
uses language to communicate inner experience to the analyst. e analyst uses language to communicate to the patient, colleagues, and students. e Buddhist student and teacher also rely on language to point toward experience. e psychoanalytic experience undergoes transformation into interpretations, case studies, or theoretical papers. Zen experience transforms into scriptural texts, doctrinal studies, debate, question-andanswer dialogues, and through koan study. For example, D. T. Suzuki (1994) describes the Zen koan as “the expression of a certain mental state (Enlightenment)” (p. 77). Bion would refer to the verbal and written communications of Buddhism and psychoanalysis as transformations. He observes that the medium of expression inƒuences transformations. Within a given context the transformation will reƒect, for example, the di‡erence between a Freudian and a Kleinian analyst or, in the context of the present discussion, the di‡erences between Zen and other religious perspectives. However, despite any possible di‡erences, the expression attempts to make denite and speakable what is innite and ine‡able. e constraints of ordinary language and logic can foreclose understanding experiences that are not limited by the bonds of ordinary logic. As a result, we can easily fail to trace the invariant from the transformation back to the actual experience.